I lost my iPod in Manila

And the police officer looked genuinely concerned and non-dismissive. While talking to him, I knew there was no way it would be returned. We knew it was lost forever, but it felt nice just to have someone share the frustration. ‘Okay ka lang? Gusto mo ng tubig?’ I’m pretty sure he wanted to give me a hug. He was really nice.

In all my years as a student in Manila, I’ve never been victimized by petty thieves. My faith in the humanity of Manila peoples hasn’t been shattered even though it really is one of the filthiest, scummiest places in the country. I go there for my monthly dentist appointment not too concerned about safety. I’m now a grown up whose faith in Manila’s humanity is effectively shattered. Congratulations, Manila.

The first time I lost something valuable was in high school, when a classmate lent me her Girbaud wallet for a week, which I lost during lunch time. Borrowing a Girbaud wallet for a week is one of those stupid things we did in high school and I managed to compound that stupidity with another. I thought maybe I’m not meant to own anything that isn’t obtained from my own personal hard work. But then again, I’ve lost around 10 phones already; phones that were given as a gift, phones that were lent, phones that were bought with cash. I lose wallets too but less frequently than I do phones. The iPod was a Christmas gift from G. As long as it’s valuable, I lose it.

I lost two iPods in less than a year. There are no patterns in these incidents. The shitty city of Manila is full of crooks but so is anywhere else in Metro Manila. In fact, I’ve lost things in okay neighbourhoods too. It’s just the recklessness and carelessness that is constant and I need to remedy this carelessness. Do I never own another valuable gadget again? Do I forsake myself the things that other ultimately more careful people enjoy just because I’m aware of the great potential of losing the valuable again? Do I rid myself of the desire to enjoy anything worth more than P20,000, etc.

But I refuse to see the bleak in this. In fact I already am seeing the good in this otherwise very depressing loss:

1.       I slow down the development of tinnitus or whatever ear infection I’m sure to earn from continued and non-stop loud iPod playing because for as long as I own one, I will never cease to use it on every possible occasion, for as long as I have functioning ears.

2.       My CD-buying/CDs will be justified. They will look less pointless now that I have to turn to CDs again for music playing.

3.       I become aware that there are really seriously kind, concerned, non-lousy policemen in this country. From now on, I wouldn’t automatically think that policemen are just guys who freeload off buses. Thanks to Manila Police Officer Campos, he of the fine cheekbones and manners.

4.       I get to read more books. It will have to be the only entertainment of choice for long trips. Snatchers will never ever steal your paperback, ever.

5.       I have less reason to tinker with the computer because I have less reason to arrange iTunes playlist, which I spend a lot of time on.

6.       I don’t have to buy a protective case, something I’ve been meaning to do for the last 3 months.

7.       There is less urge to check Twitter and Facebook now that I can’t access them from a mobile device.

8.       Strangers I sit next to in buses and shuttles have no more reason to get annoyed by me, leaker of really loud music.

9.       My disdain for trains (MRT and LRT – the worst trains in the universe) will be more justified. I know there are thieves anywhere but our rail transport system, which gives a truly false sense of security by having mangmang guards check up on everyone’s belongings, prove to be totally worthless in times of trouble. I can’t decide which I hate more, the guards or the trains. Even, I guess. But as I’ve said, no sulking this time. And security guards deserve an entire blog post on its own.

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14 thoughts on “I lost my iPod in Manila

  1. I treat Manila like I would a dangerous, beautiful animal; you can admire it but you must always have your guard up around it. Years of studying in Manila have developed in me a sort of constant paranoia that I can and will be stolen from anywhere, so I’m always on alert 😛

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  2. Re #4: Ever considered buying a Kindle? Cos my resolve not to is kinda buckling, despite the looming piles of my unread books. 😀

    Will thieves be interested in a Kindle? I wonder.

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  3. ajeet, i never found anything admirable about manila but i didn’t hate it either. i’m hostile towards it now. 🙂

    aris, hmm i don’t think i could give up actual books but people are raving. it’s a target for thieves too for sure. mukang tablet eh.

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  4. At least wala kang distraction kung magi-inom tayo nila Aris. Oy Aris, April 17, Sunday, 4pm, sa bahay, Pasig Citehh? Tayong tatlo nitong nawalan ng IPod? Ha?

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  5. Ouch. 2 iPods in a year and 10 phones? I’ve never lost a phone nor an iPod (except for when in high school I charged my phone in the classroom and someone stole it). I’m kind of OC like that. In fact I’m very much attached to my gadgets that if I can’t feel them or see them anywhere within my reach in about 5 minutes I sort of freak out. I surround myself with them 24/7 goodness knows I’ll probably die of brain tumor from all the radiation.

    Lordy, I remember the Girbaud craze.

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  6. One could use the trite argument that material loss is the lesser evil, considering the grimmer scenarios potential and plausible in this urban abattoir. It could easily be argued that safety is most imperative, that what matters is you survived the ordeal unscathed and intact. But this is a lie.

    The material loss is an abject condition, agreed, but its repercussions go beyond the pecuniary and physical manifestations of this loss. The object can be replaced, but the sense of security lost cannot be easily regained once fissures appear in the surface of consciousness. From the simple action of thievery, they have stolen more than what they have meant – your faith in the city, the self-awareness it negated, and the dissolution of one’s sense of security.

    I empathize. I have fallen prey numerous times to the malevolence that inhabit the sprawl the city, and a few by an outright act of violence and physical threat. There is no consoling once a perception has been altered. Glad to see that you’ve chosen to perceive the euphemism of this predicament, it may have been written in jest but at least you haven’t lost your humor.

    @Momel Can I include myself in this invitation? Hehe.

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  7. justine, maybe that should be part of the solution, that i should be more attached to my gadgets. i really feel despondent over these losses. the radiation worry is really just craziness. it’s craziest when you lose something so valuable. and yes, the girbaud craze. 🙂

    red, oh my god you speak pure truthfulness, lordship. exactly what i was thinking, the it’s just material things kind of thinking, etc. exactly all of what you said. thanks for birthing these words that i swear i’ve thought of too but which out of situation of hatefulness situatedness i didn’t or can’t. hehe. please include yourself please. 🙂

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  8. my ipod got snatched once while the MRT door was closing. for a second, i thought, hell that ipod can be replaced. but for another second, i got my wits back and i pushed the emergency button as hard as i could and yelled. the thief ran but he was out of luck: he was cornered by the taong-bayan, who kicked the hell out of him. i felt sorry for the guy, though. he refused admitting to having stolen my ipod. nasabi ko na lang, “TALAGA LANG KUYAAA??? NGAYON PAAA???” hindi ko na lang siya hinabla. so tired that night. anyway, i still use my ipod now and am still worried about having ear cancer. 😦

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  9. I’ve always imagined doing that if the time came, and it did! I was dumbstruck and was left scratching my head in dismay, anger and frustration, all those efforts making playlists, only for someone to have! Also, Manila and LRT, more hardcore than MRT thieves. I still remember the sensation, the nginig ng laman feeling ng freshly nakaw na gadget and being aware of it. You’re so brave to have done that!

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